Court orders US Olin to supply Odyssey with bleach in contract dispute

Al Greenwood


HOUSTON (ICIS)–A US court ordered Olin to supply Odyssey Manufacturing with HyPure bleach while the two companies proceed with a lawsuit over their supply contract.

Olin did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. In court documents, Olin alleged that it had substantially complied with the supply contract. It wants the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

Odyssey sued Olin on 28 April 2023 after it learned that its shipments of HyPure bleach would be capped at 1,930 EQW/month (3.86m gal/month or 14.6m litres/month), starting in May. Olin later raised the cap to 2,061 EQW/month of bleach.

Odyssey alleged that the capped amount violated their 10-year supply contract. Moreover, Odyssey never received the revised monthly amount.

By restricting shipments of HyPure bleach, Odyssey alleged that Olin was jeopardising its ability to supply product to water and wastewater plants throughout Florida.

If the plants do not get enough bleach, they cannot sufficiently treat water and wastewater during the high-demand months of August through October, which could result in boil-water notices, Odyssey alleged.

Later in August, Olin declared force majeure on deliveries of HyPure bleach. Odyssey objected to the timing and validity of the declaration.

In its complaint, Odyssey request that the court impose a preliminary injunction on Olin, which would compel the company to deliver the bleach.

Olin had opposed Odyssey’s request, arguing that the injunction goes beyond what is allowed by the companies’ supply contract.

Under the supply contract, Odyssey is entitled to recover the value of the disputed shipments of bleach and not the physical volumes of bleach, Olin argued. Moreover, Odyssey can recover that money only if it demonstrates that Olin had somehow breached the supply contract.

On 16 August 2023, the court rejected Olin’s argument and ordered the company to supply Odyssey with up to 2,061 EQW/month of bleach at least through the end of October. That is the amount of the revised cap and the amount agreed to by Odyssey.

After October, Odyssey should be able to get bleach from other sources, the court said.

The court issued the preliminary injunction because it determined that Olin breached the contract and that Odyssey would likely prevail in pursuing its claim.

In regards to the force majeure, the court was not persuaded that Olin’s shortfalls were beyond the reasonable control of the company.

Odyssey also demonstrated that it would suffer irreparable harm because water and wastewater plants may not get enough bleach, the court said. Odyssey could lose customers and suffer damage to its reputation.

Olin is facing lawsuits from other companies over supply contracts.

Odyssey sued Olin in US District Court, Florida Middle District. The case number is 8:23-cv-00940.

Bleach, or sodium hypochlorite, is made with chlorine and caustic soda.

Thumbnail shows water, which is typically treated with bleach. Image by ICIS.


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